Thursday, November 27, 2008

Passing of Fall, Beginning of Winter, and More Assorted Changes

To all of you back home, I want to wish you all a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Eat some pumpkin pie for me please!

Now, I'd like to begin by apologizing for my lack of posts for the past two months.  Let me update you on what has been happening in my life:

  • Took a really difficult political philosophy test.  About 1/4 of the class had to retake it, including myself. I'm waiting on the results of the retake.
  • Completed a 7,600 word paper that uses political philosophers John Rawls and Will Kymlicka to analyze issues of self-determination of Native Hawaiians
  • Begun work on a 5,000 word research paper employing human rights indicators to assess the level of integration of immigrants to Sweden.  This work will become part of my thesis.
  • I'm taking Swedish classes! It's a lot of fun, and I do well in the class. I only wish that I practiced more. I have Swedish friends, but we always talk in English.
  • Attended a meeting with my home club, Malmö Slottsstaden, with my advisor. We meet in a very nice building in the old area of the city. The building was constructed in the 1600's! Everyone at the meeting was so welcoming and very excited to meet me. I'll be presenting at my home club in February.
  • Had lunch with my club's president, Bo Åhnebrink. Lunch was delicious and we had a very interesting conversation, most of which focused on the US and the recent American elections, the US/Sweden relationship, and life and history in Hawaii. We also discussed ideas for my presentation to my club, which will be centered on Hawai'i as a cultural melting pot, with similarities and differences to the mainland US, as well as President-Elect Obama's place in it all. People here are very interested in and very excited about Obama.
  • I haven't been able to do any community service as of yet. My club is not currently active in any community service efforts, so I intend on finding another club I can work with to help serve the community.
  • I've been working with Malmö Högskola's Rotaract Club, and I'll be presenting to them as well likely in the beginning of next semester.
  • This fall a swarm of pink jellyfish came into the canal system in the city. Thousands of them. In some spots, there were so many they were smashed together. It was really strange!  It really speaks of the deadness of the water here, and made me think about the health of our seas.
  • The last leaves of fall disappeared. The colors were beautiful! I wish I had had my camera to photograph them.
  • The weather has been so entertaining for me!! Last weekend it snowed! My Swedish friends made fun of me because I sat by windows like a child watching the snow fall, they said. Well, I'm from Hawaii, what do they expect?
  • A cold front from Russia came down, which was the cause of the very early cold. I was here two years ago at the end of December, and it wasn't as cold then as it was this weekend. It got down to the high 20's F, or -1 C. But now it's warmer, so back to Malmö's typically rainy winter weather.

Tonight I'm going with friends to Copenhagen for Thanksgiving Dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. It should be fun!! I really didn't want to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner, but it's my favorite American meal, so I have to have it! I haven't been to Copenhagen since the day I arrived here, so I'm really looking forward to walking around the city.

Again, I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving back home, take care, and I promise I'll keep up more!